Monday, August 03, 2009

U.S. v. Berger (9th Cir. - July 31, 2009)

Feeling pressure to get married from your significant other? Don't say "It's not you; it's me." That never works.

Try something more creative. Something like: "Baby, I love you, and I'd totally want to marry you if we lived in any other state than California. But that darn Ninth Circuit. I'm just looking out for both of us, honey."

When s/he asks for more details, have 'em read this opinion. And the sage wisdom of Judge Milan Smith:

"Cornella also argues that it would be unjust to punish an innocent spouse for her husband’s misdeeds. We sympathize with Cornella’s situation, but for better or worse, it has long been true in community property jurisdictions that both spouses assume the risks—and benefits—of that legal system. The case books are replete with examples of seeming injustices to innocent spouses where community property laws are applied. Nevertheless, we are bound by California’s community property laws, and they control the outcome in this case. Even though Cornella was not a party to, nor guilty of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with, Richard’s fraud, her community property interest in the Proceeds is subject to Richard’s obligations under the restitution order entered by the district court."